The Shotgun Blog
Monday, May 04, 2009
Maggie at 30
The eyes of Caligula, said Francois Mitterrand, and the mouth of Marilyn Monroe. The headmistress voice, the brilliant blue suits, the perfectly coiffed blond hair and the Gucci bags. The lady, as she famously told a Conservative Party convention in 1980, was not for turning. The daughter of a grocer from Grantham, Lincolnshire, Margaret Hilda Roberts Thatcher displayed little academic brilliance. Gaining a scholarship to Somerville College, Oxford only after the first place winner had dropped out, no one seriously considered her as a future party leader. Moving through a chemistry degree and then the bar -specializing in taxation - by sheer force of will and hard work. Her father Alfred was a self made man, Victorian in birth and outlook. A Liberal in the Gladstonian mold, he drifted reluctantly toward the Conservatives. As an alderman he emphasized economies in finance and privatization of local services where possible. A stern Methodist lay preacher he admonished his daughter for wanting to dance like the other girls. Don't do things because others do them, he warned. As a girl she won a minor school contest. A teacher congratulated her on her luck. The little girl replied: "I earned it."
Through out the 1950s she sought a competitive Conservative seat. Coming close on several occasions her youth, and her position as the mother of young children, counted strongly against her. In 1959 she contested and won Finchley. Given a parliamentary undersecretary position, the lowest rung of cabinet, by Harold Macmillan she failed to distinguish herself. The Profumo Scandal, Macmillan's poor health, and the weak choice of Sir Alec Douglas-Home as his successor, led to a narrow Conservative loss in 1964 to Labour under Harold Wilson. In opposition, however, the flash of what was to become Thatcherism began to be seen. Calling for the sale of council flats (housing project units) to their residents, and attacking wage and price controls, Thatcher quickly placed herself on the far right of the party.
Posted by Richard Anderson on May 4, 2009 | Permalink
Has it been 30 years since the Golden Age began? We miss you, Lady Thatcher. May your example shine for all time.
She should be the example conservatives ought to look, not "Ron Paul" or these other whackos. She did it all and we're better for it.
Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2009-05-04 6:59:40 AM
Great PM's Pitt,Disraeli,Churchill,Thatcher and the list is closed.Would any of these let our sailors capture ragtag pirates and then let them go because the UN said you had no authority to act on the high seas.OK so maybe Sir John A.but since him?
Posted by: Goff Tayler | 2009-05-04 9:52:37 AM
Indeed she was one of Britain's finest prime ministers. As for the comment that Lady Thatcher placed herself on the far right of the party, I suggest that she instead distanced herself from the socialist elements of the party.
Posted by: Alain | 2009-05-04 10:12:23 AM
Harper is the only Cdn PM who would even stand up to the pirates. Cretin and Dithers would back down, and Trudeau would welcome them with open arms.
MacDonald was NOT a great PM. He was average at best.
Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2009-05-04 11:11:40 AM
Allow me to quote from a letter that was published in the National Post recently:
In the '70s, Britain's Labour Party (with its backing of the trade unions) led the country into a severe economic decline. Thankfully, at the end of that decade, the Conservatives were elected, with Margaret Thatcher mandated to take a hard line against the unions. This policy brought economic prosperity to Britain that it hadn't seen for years, and also resulted in Ms. Thatcher being elected for an unprecedented three terms as prime minister. We should learn from this.
Thatcher is one of my all-time favourites. She wiped the floor with the unions, aka organized crime, and restored Britain's prosperity. It's a shame, therefore, having to watch Gordon Brown destroy everything the Iron Lady built.
I still rue the day she was stabbed in the back by her own party. If she had stayed in power just a year longer, Britain may not be in the moronic EU today. Shame.
Posted by: Werner Patels | 2009-05-04 11:23:25 AM
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